You will receive a summons to present yourself for an interview with a protection officer of the OFPRA.
> the summons will be sent to you by letter or by SMS a few days before the interview’s date : you must check your letters in your domiciliation centre as often as possible.
The date, hour and precisions about the way the interview will take place are written in the letter.
You have to present yourself on time the day of the interview. If you are sick or if you have any barring problem which you know will prevent you from going to the interview, you have to inform the OFPRA by fax as soon as possible.
What happens during the interview ?
During the interview :
1/A You will meet a protection officer of the OFPRA.
2/ If you do not speak French, you will be given an interpreter speaking your language, or in another language which the officers may think you understand.
3/ If you want to, you can ask to be assisted by a third person during the interview. Important: This person has to be a member of one of the organisations authorized by OFPRA or a lawyer.
If you wish to be assisted by someone, here are three things you should know :
1) The role of the third person: The third person is here to observe how the interview goes on. He/She has no right to take part in the interview, and can not help you answering the official’s questions.
2) If you wish to be assisted, you have to choose the person and take contact with him/her yourself (be a lawyer or association member).
3) If you find the person, then you must inform the OFPRA at least 7 days before the interview that you will be assisted (In case you are in fast-track procedure : then you you have to inform the OFPRA at least 3 days before the interview).
How do I get prepared ?
The interview with the protection officer is a very important step of the asylum application process. You have to get well-prepared to it.
The protection officer has some objectives to achieve during this interview. He/She has to :
– Establish the facts of your story
– Check that these facts meet the conditions described in the conventions and the law to grant the refugee status.
In order to convince the protection officer that your fears of persecutions and threats in your own country are real, you should :
-Revise your case story before the interview : know perfectly the steps of your story and keep the details in mind, just as you described them in your OFPRA file.
-Keep a copy of the documents with you that you have enclosed with your OFPRA file : this will help you reminding every important elements of your story.
-Train to keep in mind the important elements of your story, which are : the timeline of the events, the circumstances of you fleeing from your country, the steps of your journey to France.
-State clearly the reason why you left and the reason why you do not want to go back to your country.
You have to be convincing : in case the official is not convinced, your asylum application may be rejected.
Who can help me ?
Here, is a List of the organizations authorized to assist asylum seekers during the interview at the OFPRA.
After the interview : when will I get an answer, and how will I get it ?
The OFPRA has to take a decision within 6 months if the file is reviewed with normal procedure. With the fast-track procedure, it will be 15 days.
Sometimes the decision takes more time than expected. In this case, the OFPRA will send you a letter to inform you of the delay.
The final decision will be sent to you by registered letter at your address.
So it is very important that you often come and check your mail in your domiciliation center (if possible once a week ).
The postman will leave an “Avis de passage” (notice that you have a letter to collect from the post office). With this notice and your certificate of asylum seeker, you have to go to the post office to pick up the registered letter. You have 15 days to pick it up. Otherwise, it will be returned to the OFPRA.
The OFPRA decides if France gives you protection : you can be granted the refugee status, or the subsidiary protection, or your application can be rejected.
-If the OFPRA grants you the refugee status : you can go to the prefecture, where you can get a residence permit valid for 10 years renewable (read more about it in this section).
-If the OFPRA grants you the subsidiary protection: you can go to the prefecture and get a residence permit valid for 4 years maximum renewable.
-If the OFPRA rejects your application: you can make an appeal before the National Court for Asylum (CNDA)